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Urgent Action: Doctor Held Incommunicado in Myanmar

By Amnesty International  •  August 24, 2012

Dr Tun Aung was arrested on 11 June in Rakhine state, western Myanmar and has been held in incommunicado detention since. He is a practicing medical doctor and the chairman of the Islamic Religious Affairs Council in Maungdaw. He suffers from a medical condition for which he may not be receiving the medication he requires.

Dr Tun Aung is accused of inciting communal violence after riots broke out in Maungdaw, Rakhine state, which he had been asked to try to defuse by local authorities due to his position of respect in the community. Riots broke out on 8 June after 10 Muslims were beaten to death on 3 June in a retaliatory attack following the rape and murder of a Buddhist Rakhine woman which took place on 28 May. Dr Tun Aung had been asked to go to the local Mosque to calm a crowd that had gathered there. Amnesty International has received reports, including eye witness accounts that Dr Tun Aung actively tried to calm the crowd. In addition to the charge of inciting violence, there are also unconfirmed reports that Dr Tun Aung may have been charged with violating the Electronic Transaction Law, which contains ambiguous provisions that have been used to suppress freedom of expression in Myanmar.

On the evening of 8 June Dr Tun Aung and some of his family took refuge in the UNHCR office to escape the riot. The UNHCR staff were evacuated shortly afterwards and the family were subjected to verbal threats by Rakhine Buddhists. On 11 June an immigration official offered to accompany them home so they could escape the threats, but instead took them to an immigration office in Kyi Kan Pyin township, where Dr Tun Aung was detained. The others were released. Dr Tun Aung was transferred to Sittwe prison, more than 170km from Maungdaw.

Dr Tun Aung has not been allowed to engage a lawyer of his choice and he is reportedly being denied the right to have private meetings with a state lawyer who has been appointed to defend him, thus violating international fair trial standards. He has also been denied the right to speak with anyone by telephone or to receive visitors. Dr Tun Aung suffers from a pituitary tumour and requires medication to manage this condition. There is a concern that the prison authorities may not be providing him with the medication he requires.

Please write immediately in English, Burmese or your own language:

State that Amnesty International is concerned by the charges made against Dr Tun Aung as independent eye witness reports suggest that he actively tried to defuse the violence that broke out in Maungdaw on 8 June;

Express concern that Dr Tun Aung has been held incommunicado and not allowed to engage a lawyer of his choice, nor hold private meetings with a lawyer before appearing in court;

Express concern that Dr Tun Aung has a serious medical condition and call for him to be urgently provided with the medication he requires as long as he remains in prison.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 5 OCTOBER 2012 TO:

Minister of Home Affairs
Lt. Gen. Ko Ko
Ministry of Home Affairs
Office No. 10, Nay Pyi Taw
Republic of the Union of Myanmar
Salutation: Dear Minister

Minister of Foreign Affairs
U Wunna Maung Lwin
Building 19,
Nay Pyi Taw
Republic of the Union of Myanmar
Salutation: Dear Minister

And copies to:
Chairman U Win Mya
Myanmar National Human Rights
Commission, 27 Pyay Road
Hline Township, Yangon
Republic of the Union of Myanmar
Salutation: Dear Chairman

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Please insert local diplomatic addresses below:
Name Address 1 Address 2 Address 3 Fax Fax number Email Email address Salutation Salutation
Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above date. �

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This post is in: Press Release

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